Misty morning
Misty morning in Delhi, 19 trains cancelled INAS

It was a misty morning in the national capital on Thursday with the minimum temperature recorded at 7 degrees Celsius, the season's average.

At least 19 trains were cancelled, 26 delayed and seven rescheduled due to fog in several parts of northern India.

The humidity in Delhi at 8.30 a.m. was 97 per cent and visibility stood at 600 metres. "The sky will be mainly clear during the day," an India Meteorological Department official said. The maximum temperature was likely to hover around 25 degrees Celsius.

Pollution Checks

To check burning in the open and other practices that cause air pollution, the Delhi government has announced deployment of home guard volunteers as environment marshals.

Fourteen Home Guards have already been posted in seven wards of three municipal corporations, covering high polluting areas including Anand Vihar, I.P. Extension, Jhilmil, Daryaganj, Okhla, Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar-Samaypur Badli and Shahbad Daulatpur-Pooth Khurd.

"In the coming days, the Department of Environment plans to increase the number of marshals to 100 who will be deployed in 50 wards of MCD," the government said in a statement.

Trained to act as the eyes and ears of the government, the marshals will report incidents of open burning of leaves, garbage or plastic, or open dumping of construction waste and spillage of solid waste at landfill sites.

In November, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), under the Delhi government, to check the open burning and to take effective measures to control dust pollution caused due to irresponsible construction activities.

Later, the Central Pollution Control Board also came up with rules barring sale of construction materials at the road side and notifying standards for dumping the construction waste by either covering it or sprinkling water to control dust.

According to the Delhi government, the marshals will report to supervisory officers from DPCC on a daily basis and will be paid a lump sum monthly amount of Rs 5,000 for transportation and Rs 1,500 for mobile phone usage.